A MANUFACTURER wants to build a new Epsom factory and add 100 jobs in Bendigo but is worried red tape could deal a fatal blow for the second time.
Industrial Conveying Australia wants permission to build a new factory behind its existing complex in Epsom.
That could allow the company to swell its Bendigo workforce by almost one-third in a major boost for the city.
Managing director Don Erskine hopes to avoid what happened during a previous push, when the company chose to drop its factory plans after delays getting approvals from a regulatory agency.
That factory project hinged on a big contract and the delays forced Industrial Conveying to abandon its Bendigo plans and complete those orders at a site interstate.
"We've got contracts that need to be completed in a set time," Mr Erskine said.
"There's a multitude of buildings we could lease outside of Bendigo, in the capital cities, because of shutdowns in the automotive industry. We want to use Bendigo, though."
Mr Erskine was not criticising any regulatory agencies in particular.
He instead wanted to make a broader point about streamlining a complex planning process involving multiple governmental agencies.
"The issue we have is that a planning application should have taken three months. At the end of that time a couple of questions get asked and at the end of three months the process starts again," he said.
A second failed factory bid would not compromise Industrial Conveying's other Bendigo operations, he said.
The internationally facing company has been headquartered in Epsom since 1985 and has no plans to move out of its busy premises.
Industrial Conveying specialises in building large and sometimes complex machinery to move materials around other factories. It also builds pieces for mining and transport.
The new factory building would cover 5252 square-metres and include a factory floor, storage space, a compressor room, offices and amenities, Industrial Conveying has told the City of Greater Bendigo.
Construction workers would need to clear some native vegetation to make way for the new factory, the company's planning consultants say.
There is no other feasible way to develop the site because of the amount of earthworks needed, they have told town planners.
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Building the factory on that spot - which is already zoned for industrial uses - would also free-up much-needed land in other parts of Bendigo, planning consultants said.
The city is currently trying to avoid an industrial land shortage that could stymy the city's economic growth.
Manufacturing is Greater Bendigo's biggest industry and supports $3 billion in annual output, economic consultants at REMPLAN estimate.
Red tape is not the only challenge Industrial Conveying faces as it tries to expand its Epsom site, Mr Erskine said.
The company is among those grappling with worker shortages intensified by low unemployment levels.
"We are picking up very large projects around Australia, and some overseas," Mr Erskine said.
"We've got airport projects on the go, we've got rail wagon projects. We have the orders, the biggest issue we have is getting employees.
"Right at the moment we could put on another 20 people just with the projects we've got coming."
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The company is currently looking for boilermakers, sheet metals, other trades and unskilled workers for its Epsom site.
The council is considering the factory application and expects to consult with multiple regulatory agencies.
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